Kentucky's Primary Approaches

May 21, 2012

The most competitive primary in Kentucky will come to an end Tuesday.

Seven Republicans are vying to replace retiring incumbent Geoff Davis in the Fourth Congressional District. County judge-executives Gary Moore and Thomas Massie and state representative Alecia Webb-Edgington are considered the frontrunners. Those three have raised the most money and former GOP operative Les Fugate says they have the best organizations. But he says outside help from two Super PACs has tilted the odds in Massie's favor.

“At this point my guess would be that Thomas Massie would be the winner, just from the sheer volume of ads that have gone up," he says. "But the question is which messages are resonating with voters and the three candidates sound a lot alike,” he says. “I would just say it wouldn’t surprise me to see any of those three candidates win. But what’s really important here is that whoever wins that race is most likely going to be the congressperson. It’s really difficult for a Democrat to win in the Fourth Congressional District and now with redistricting it’s even more Republican than it was before."

Two Democrats are vying for their party’s nomination in the district.

The races to watch in tomorrow's primaries for General Assembly seats are in Louisville, Northern and Southern Kentucky.

In Louisville, four Democrats are vying to replace retiring Democrat Tim Shaughnessy in the 19th district, where no Republicans are running.

In the 37th District, former Republican Metro Councilman Doug Hawkins and political activist Chris Thieneman are vying to face state Senator Perry Clark. Republicans have made the seat a priority for the fall.

Outside of Louisville, two Republicans—businessman Chris McDaniel and Will Tewort—are hoping to replace Northern Kentucky senator Jack Westwood in the 23rd District. And three are hoping to replace Vernie McGaha from Russell County in the 15th District. Among them are Pastor Mark Polston, Congressman Hal Rogers's staffer Chris Girdler and A.C. Donahue.

The last primary to watch is near Bowling Green, with state Senator David Givens in the 9th District. Tea Party favorite Don Butler has been running ads against Givens, who is considered a rising leader in the chamber.

Residents of Kentucky's Fourth Congressional District will see a spirited primary tomorrow, but that won’t be the case elsewhere.

While there are primaries in most of Kentucky’s five other congressional districts, none are as competitive or as closely-followed as the race in Northern Kentucky.

In the Sixth District, Republican Andy Barr is expected to easily win the chance for a rematch with Congressman Ben Chandler.
And Third District Congressman John Yarmuth's primary challenger is unlikely to take much of the vote.

But in the Fourth District, seven Republicans and two Democrats are vying to replace outgoing Congressman Geoff Davis. The seat is expected to go to the GOP nominee in November, but without Davis in the running, the Republican primary has been a close, competitive race.